Novak Djokovic Denied Entry Into Australia; Australian Open Odds In Turmoil
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Talk about a debacle! World No.1 Novak Djokovic, a medical exemption that caused an outcry in Australia, a visa-cancellation heard around the world, governments at loggerheads, and an outraged father’s claims that his tennis-star son is being “held captive” by Australian Border Forces (ABF).
You can’t write this stuff.
In a nutshell, Djokovic appears to be locked in a standoff with the ABF, the Commonwealth government, and the Victoria state government that’s threatening to upend his bid at the 2022 Australian Open. The 20-time grand slam champion was instructed to leave the country immediately after his visa was revoked on Wednesday, though his lawyers are in the process of appealing the decision with the state courts, while the Serbian government is weighing in on the case.
This astonishing and stunning development has caused an international stir, not to mention rocked tennis betting markets across multiple online sports betting platforms. The 20-time grand slam champion and nine-time Australian Open champion was undoubtedly going to be the player to beat in Melbourne.
Djokovic Australian Open Odds Still Available
A number of sports betting sites responded by taking their 2022 Australian Open Odds off the board, opting to monitor this developing story before reopening markets for the year’s first major tennis tournament. After eight hours at Melbourne airport, Djokovic was allowed to go to a government detention hotel. He’s yet to be physically deported.
But several bookies are still offering odds, such as FanDuel, which has updated its Australian Open futures. Now, Daniil Medvedev, who was the 2021 runner-up in Melbourne before winning his maiden grand slam title at the US Open (both times facing Djokovic), is the top favorite to win the 2022 Aussie Open.
|Player||Odds To Win 2022 Australian Open|
|Daniil Medvedev||+135 ➜|
|Novak Djokovic||+145 ➜|
|Alexander Zverev||+240 ➜|
|Rafael Nadal||+1000 ➜|
|Stefanos Tsitsipas||+1800 ➜|
Odds via FanDuel ➜ and accurate as of publication.
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Medvedev is tipped at +135 at FanDuel, while Djokovic remains on the board as the +145 bet. Earlier in the day Djokovic was the +130 favorite. Alexander Zverev now comes in as the third-best bet at +240. Rafael Nadal, who is also gunning for his 21st grand slam title in Melbourne, comes in as the fourth-best bet at +1000. It's a similar story at BetMGM, where Djokovic is now the second favorite behind Medvedev.
Djokovic remains on the board at several betting apps because it appears the door remains open for him to get clearance to play in the tournament before it begins on Jan. 17. Local reports suggest a pending legal challenge could permit him to play, while Djokovic could also opt to return to Europe before applying for a new visa and flying back to Australia to play.
As of Thursday, Djokovic’s bid to participate remains in limbo, with a final court decision on whether he can remain in Australia expected by Monday at 10 a.m. local time (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET). In the meantime he must stay at the quarantine hotel.
Why Is Djokovic Being Deported?
Not two days ago, the Serbian starlet was all smiles and cheerful bonhomie. Wishing his legion of fans around the world a Happy New Year with a social media post accompanied by a photo of himself, stood by an airport trolley packed with his luggage: He was Australia bound!
Happy New Year! Wishing you all health, love & joy in every moment & may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet.— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 4, 2022
I’ve spent fantastic quality time with loved ones over break & today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022! pic.twitter.com/e688iSO2d4
That was a stunning titbit, too, to be fair. His travel plans, that is. Few expected such an announcement after months of uncertainty. Djokovic’s status for the Australian Open was up in the air after players were told they would have to be fully vaccinated to participate at this year’s first grand slam or receive a medical exemption by an independent panel of experts.
Whether he would or wouldn’t be allowed to play at the Australian Open fueled endless speculation. Djokovic’s views on the vaccine and his repeated refusal to publicly confirm his vaccination status made his participation unlikely, although multiple top sportsbooks maintained the nine-time Australian Open champion in corresponding tennis futures markets as the short-odds-on favorite to win.
Then, the unthinkable happened: Djokovic received a medical exemption. That fact instantly underscored his favorable tennis odds to win the 2022 Australian Open.
How the reigning world number one – owner of 20 grand slam titles and the fittest tennis player on the planet – received a medical exemption left many perplexed in the tennis betting community and sparked a widespread backlash in Australia. The outcry was swift. From a number of Australian politicians calling the decision a “disgrace” and a "kick in the guts to every Victorian" who endured months of lockdowns during the pandemic to prominent personalities and Melbourne residents uniting together and calling for a boycott of the Australian Open.
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had earlier said Djokovic would need to provide solid evidence to back up his vaccine exemption upon arrival. He reiterated the requirement today as news the Serbian had failed to pass through passport control upon his arrival Down Under broke worldwide and was confirmed in a statement issued by the ABF.
"The ABF can confirm that Mr. Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled," the statement read.